All celebrations include one thing – food. And your wedding is no exception. But how do you choose what you need, decide what you want, and ensure you’ve covered all your bases?

First of all, let me just say up front – this is blog not a DIY moment. Even though your mother’s friends think they can pull this off with homemade potato salad, ham sandwiches, and hors devours from Costco, there’s no way that can happen smoothly and without stress. Just say no!

As with all other vendors involved in your wedding day, you’ll want to meet with the caterer – and whoever will be the lead onsite – to determine whether you “connect”. In this area – as in all others – you need someone that seeks to understand your budget, your needs and preferences, and the vibe you want to create for your reception. If you aren’t impressed at the first meeting, bande annonce rencontre en ligne it’s simply not going to get better.

But beyond the instant rapport, what other considerations need to be on the catering table?

visit site First of all, know what your venue allows. Some have recommended caterers and some have a limited selection of approved caterers – but some are “closed” to only in-house catering. Be sure you know what your venue allows – preferably before you even book the venue – but definitely before embarking on this adventure.

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There are a multitude of catering options. Before you begin your list of possible caterers, you’ll want to decide what kind of food service you want. This will help guide you as you navigate all of the options out there in the industry.

  • Do you want a full sit-down dinner? Will it be plated and served, family style or served as a buffet? Plated service will always have a higher price-point.
  • Or are you going to forego the full meal deal and focus on heavy hors devours and sandwich stations? Just be sure you have enough food and enough options to satisfy your crowd – especially if your reception will straddle a usual meal time. You don’t want guests to leave hungry! (At a recent event I attended as a guest, the only sandwich option was beef – nothing else – with only a few limited – and seemingly in short supply – side items. Long story short, I left hungry. Don’t be that couple.)
  • Or what about a food truck or hot dog cart? If your reception is low-key and casual – and your venue allows it – a food truck might bring just the right fun and frivolity and fabulous food that you’re looking for.
  • Or are you going for a themed meal? Barbeque, Mexican, Italian, Asian, Fusion or some other combination … all are great options for menus and with varying price-points.

Think you know what you want? Awesome! Now, do some research coolibri kleinanzeigen er sucht sie and go to an open house or tasting! Ask your venue, your wedding planner, and others for recommendations – especially one that can handle the type of food you desire and the size of crowd you expect. (If the caterer generally works events of 50 or less and yours is expected to be 150, the increased size might impact the food quality as well as the service.) A highly recommended caterer sure beats a random pick. And check their reviews, Aunt Mary might have recommended the “perfect” caterer, but if the online reviews don’t back-up her claim, it might be worth it to check around for another option.  

When advising couples on catering, my number one requirement – and I mean rencontre femme medecin algerien requirement – is to be sure the company is full-service. Full-service means that the catering team will handle table set up and tear down, rentals – including serving platters (if the company doesn’t have their own), plates, linens, silverware, glassware, etc. (and sometimes even tables and chairs), and waitstaff. (Having a sit-down? You’ll want about 1 waitstaff for every 3 tables.) Some catering companies will also provide the bartender as well.

Remember, if you don’t get full-service, you’ll end up managing all the additional rentals on your own (that means delivery and return) – and hiring extra help to act as waitstaff as well as for set up and tear down. (Even with a wedding planner in your corner, you don’t want to leave all that set-up to her with only the help of family and friends. There’s simply too much involved in the entire day’s processes to make sure it all goes forward smoothly without experienced staff handling this piece.) It may feel like the full-service model is more expensive on the face of it, but in actuality, once you price all those separate services – and for peace of mind – it’s worth it.

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Okay, so you think you’ve found the perfect full-service caterer for your needs. What are the questions you need to ask them before you sign on the dotted line?

  • Ask about food freshness. Fresh ingredients make for flavorful food. If they use only canned, frozen, or prepackaged items, you may want to consider a different option.
  • Ask about a tasting. Often caterers provide a tasting only after you’ve signed a contract. This tasting aids in choosing your menu. However, regardless of when you taste, be sure that you’re tasting what will be their selection at the time of your wedding. It makes no difference if they make a fabulous cranberry-walnut bruschetta if it is not available in July.
  • Ask for sample menus. Your caterer knows what offerings they have that work well together. Garner their advice.
  • Is the caterer able to prepare special dietary items for vegan, gluten-free, or kosher guests? Back to that wedding with the beef sandwiches – many in attendance were vegetarian, and with no vegetarian options in sight, those guests were left to simply eat cake.
  • Do they offer special pricing for children’s meals or meals for vendors? Some will charge their usual per serving rate, but many will offer a discount – and you certainly want to take advantage of that.
  • Will your caterer be working any other events on the same weekend or – horrors! – the same day? You need to be sure that your event gets the singular attention that it deserves – and that the energy of both kitchen and waitstaff won’t be impacted by being stretched across other sites or by working back-to-back events.
  • Has your caterer worked at your venue before? If not, it is wise to connect them with the venue to have a conversation and a walk-through to be sure the venue has all the needed equipment – and that anything the caterer brings in is acceptable. If your venue is not fully stocked and your caterer isn’t bringing in the items needed, there may be an additional rental fee that will be passed on to you. Be sure you know what you are paying for.
  • What does the catering staff wear? You want to be sure their attire matches the tone of your event. Polo shirts and shorts may work for a destination beachfront wedding – but not so much at a formal waterfront view affair at an upscale venue.
  • Ask to see any photos they might have of their presentation. How the food is arranged on the table and platter makes an impact. A wise catering friend always says, “You eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth.”
  • Ask about alcohol. If they have the ability to provide alcohol and the bartender, make sure they have the appropriate licensing and insurance as well. Their liquor liability insurance protects you as well in the event of a liquor-related incident. And find out how many bartenders are included in the package – preferably one for every 50 guests. The dance party will suffer if everyone is waiting in the bar line. (Read more about bar options in an upcoming blog post.) If they don’t provide bar services, they should be able to recommend a reputable service that they’ve worked with before. Since food and bar service work so closely together, if there is already a well-working relationship, it’s worth exploring.

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You’ve found a full-service caterer that offers all the bells and whistles that you want, souk zouaj maroc femme cherche homme now what?

  • Ask for a quote. This is going to be a big chunk of your budget – in fact, often more than 50% of it. A full-service caterer brings so many plusses to your event – so don’t cringe at the cost, but do make sure there are not any hidden fees. You can try to negotiate a lower price point – but know that in the process you are giving up something somewhere. Your wedding planner can always help with a quick contract review if you have concerns.
  • Ask for a detailed price breakdown – including food, rentals, waitstaff – and ask if the gratuity is included in the overall fee or if you need to provide an additional cash tip at the end of the evening.
  • Find out when the final choices for menu and final numbers for guests are needed and make sure that is in the contract so there are no surprises. Be sure to make your RSVP date at least a week before the count is due to the caterer – that way you have time to follow up with those that have not responded. Your caterer can guide you on how much to pad your count to be ready for any surprise attendees.
  • Review the contract closely for any restrictions on services that weren’t already discussed and get any questions clarified before signing.

That’s it! Take the plunge … and then read on for bar options!